Provincial municipal association joins CUPE in appeal for government COVID-19 funding

ONTARIO – A joint letter from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Ontario) sent to the federal and provincial governments, appealing for immediate financial assistance for municipalities to assist with the costs of managing the COVID-19 emergency is welcome news, says a Billings Township councillor.

“Certainly, any funding from the province or federal government to assist municipalities is not bad,” said Bryan Barker, a Billings Township councillor. “This sounds like a letter similar to one sent by Dr. Maurianne Reade on behalf of Island health care leaders, municipalities and First Nations for support of COVID-19 for things like the field hospital and the costs dealing with the pandemic.”

“I can’t imagine what the costs will be, it will be huge, in the millions that municipalities and those in the health care field will need in support because of COVID-19,” said Councillor Barker. 

On July 2, an AMO release noted an appeal is being made for immediate financial assistance, social service relief and for the standing committee to consider municipal COVID-19 impacts and connecting links.

“AMO and CUPE Ontario joined forces again today (July 2, 2020) with a joint letter appealing for immediate financial assistance for municipalities to assist with the costs of managing the COVID-19 emergency. The letter calls on the Governments of Canada and Ontario to conclude negotiations on a joint federal-provincial financial assistance plan to address the COVID-19-related municipal financial crisis and to protect essential, at risk, municipal services.”

The provincial government had, on July 2, announced another $150 million of funding for relief and to protect the health and safety of vulnerable people, particularly the homeless.

The AMO release notes, “this additional funding for municipal service managers and urban Indigenous community agencies is very welcome and much needed. The new funding is in addition to $148 million provided in March 2020. Funding parameters have been expanded by the province to allow renovations of shelters and purchase of new facilities to expand the range of needed and urgent housing solutions.”

“With this additional funding, service managers will continue to make local decisions about community funding to support COVID-19 responses. The funding helps municipal governments, District Services Boards (DSBs), social service providers and urban Indigenous community agencies to provide critical services such as homeless shelters, food banks, emergency services and other community services. The funding will continue to flow through the 47 municipal government service system managers and DSBs that administer social services.”